Since the issue of a new $20 car tab fee in King County to pump cash into Metro transit’s sagging operating budget has been on the table, pundits of the professional and armchair varieties have whiled away time speculating how the swing votes on the County Council might fall.
The fence-sitters on the nine-member council deftly avoided having to reveal themselves until a scheduled vote next Monday, August 15th, perhaps not coincidentally only one day before a primary election in which two members will face voters in their bid for re-election.
(Under Washington’s top two primary, it is not inconceivable that an unpopular vote made just as ballots were hitting mailboxes could prove disastrous for incumbents.)
One vote that is definitely not in question is that of District 1 Councilman and candidate for state attorney general Bob Ferguson.
In the five years between 2005 and 2010, the council has voted 16 times to raise taxes or fees. In every case Ferguson cast a vote to raise the cost of being a resident or business owner in King County.
The total bill Ferguson handed down to King County taxpayers amounts to $1.128 billion, a cost to the average household of more than $750 per year.
When Ferguson says yes, King County families end up having to say no to something in their already-strapped budgets.
Not surprising then that Ferguson has publicly supported the push to pluck another $20 per year from taxpayers. After all, why tarnish what will likely be a perfect 17-0 record for Ferguson pitching against the struggling King County economy?
Only one other sitting member has a record so meticulously unblemished by any votes in opposition to tax hikes, Larry Gossett.
In comparison, Ferguson’s colleague and his opponent in the attorney general’s race – Reagan Dunn – has the best record on the council for opposing tax hikes during the period. Dunn voted against raising taxes eight times of the 16 votes taken and has indicated he will vote no on the car tab fee.